I am codependent.

Yes.  I am codependent.  I know that.

I am also an ACoA.  Otherwise known as an adult child of an alcoholic.  My dad is an alcoholic.  Although he will say he is not.

If you want the short version of this post, skip to the black text below :)

When my parents split up my mom made us all (my siblings & I) go to therapy.  Of course we resisted.  We went to a few sessions and I guess she figured out that there was no point if we weren’t willing to try.  After that she tried to push the book “Codependent No More” on us.  It spoke to her.  I was young and mad at the world.  I did not want to hear the psycho babble about what was wrong with me.  If there was something wrong with me it was my parents fault of course.  I needed them to leave me alone.  Then all would be well, right?

Well that worked for a while.  Probably until I got married.  Then it really all came blaring to the surface when I had kids.  When my daughter was born, all sorts of feelings that I had hidden came back.  I was angry again.  Angry at my mom for not doing a better job of protecting us from our alcoholic father.   How could she have put us through that?  Why didn’t she do more to stand up for us?  After she divorced, she got angry at the world and at us too.  It was like she decided she would never be burdened by anyone again.  Apparently this included her kids.  She resented us.  I really think she did.  But she had been our rock.  She had always been the calm in our stormy life.  So I think it hurt more when she deserted us than it did when my dad did all the the stuff he had done.  At least he was remorseful and tried very hard to make it up to us.  I think she really just needed a break from her life and you can’t do that when you have young kids.

After a while she remarried and moved across the country away from us all.  She is back now, living nearby.  She even wrote me a letter one time to apologize.  I love my mom.  We are nice to each other but do not see each other often.  As an adult I can understand that she had a rough marriage and made some hurtful decisions.  Well I can’t really understand it.  My kids are  my number one priority.  I don’t understand why hers were not.  It still hurts.  But we are at an OK place now.

Anyway, the point is that I am codependent.  My mom was too.  I think my sisters are too.

I have told one of my sisters about my marriage problems.  Of course others in my family know we are not still on our honeymoon over here.  But I have only told one real life person about all of this – about saying the D word out loud.  About telling him to move out.  About all of it.

She suggested I read “Codependent No More.”  I told her I wanted to throw that book at her.  That was my gut reaction.  Why?  Because it implied that all of this was my fault since I am codependent.  And because once again it would be me working to fix this marriage while he did nothing.  I am tired of trying so hard.  It is his turn.  That is how I felt.  And I kinda still do. And you know what?  I have done a lot of work already.  I worked through a lot of this ACoA stuff quite a few years ago.  I have self-helped myself again and again.  This whole blog is self-help for goodness sakes.  So, really?  I wasn’t fixed yet?  He’s the one that needs fixed!  And then she told me that Mom said if she had read that book early in her marriage she thinks it would have turned out so very differently.  OK, OK.

And then I read Alisa Bowman’s book (www.projecthappilyeverafter.com).  And she made a good point about even if you try all these things and it does not save your marriage, you will still be a better person because of it.  That makes sense.  Yes, these are things I need to work through anyway.  Might as well get started.

So I am reading “Codependent No More.”  Anyone want to work thru this crap with me?

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa
    Jan 20, 2011 @ 08:25:27

    I totally get what u are saying. I am co dependent also. But in reading some self help books it says it is ok to be co dependent on your husband. He needs to feel needed.The last few weeks I have been thinking, I am not an independent person. I have never worked full time. I feel like I had higher expectations for my life. where did they go? I don’t know. I got so involved in my childrens lives. I am so grateful to my husband for allowing me the opportunity to be a stay at home mom. I didn’t miss a thing. But now they are getting older 3 of them over 18 and one is 13. I don’t know who I am.

    Reply

  2. toughwords
    Jan 21, 2011 @ 11:45:45

    Hi Lisa. I have been reading the book ‘Codependent No More’ and learning more about this. It has really opened my eyes to some things. Maybe it would help you to. Found my copy on amazon.com. Thanks for your comment!

    Reply

  3. Martha
    Jun 28, 2011 @ 18:07:53

    Hi there, I recently discovered that my husband(married 17yrs last week) was passive aggressive and subsequently, that I’m codependant. When the psychologist told me I was codependant I couldn’t wait to get onto the web to research this. I can identify with toughwords, it was a rude awakening in that label. Your sentiments are a reflection of my life. I’ve been feeling like this is all my fault. I’ve decided that I can’t do another 17yrs like this.

    Reply

  4. toughwords
    Jun 28, 2011 @ 23:42:24

    Martha, I wish you luck on your journey. I have found that just “being me” is even better & sometimes even harder than standing up for myself. It is so worth it though! I have earned respect from this man – more than I’ve had in a long time. We have a long road ahead of us to heal our marriage, but have not given up yet. I hope you read “Codependent No More”. It is very helpful. I have also written on hear about how we teach people how to treat us… That is so true!!
    Read this post:
    http://toughwords.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/we-teach-people-how-to-treat-us/

    I love where it says that we can “declare the relationship “reopened for negotiation” at any time you choose, and for as long as you choose.”

    Welcome to my blog… keep in touch please. I’d love to hear your story!

    Reply

  5. Kristy
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 13:39:58

    I left you a comment last night and mentioned that I too had read that book just last spring. For me it was a real eye opener because I had no idea just how much of a codependent I truly was. I even highlighted the sections that really pertained to me. But, I didn’t really get out of it what the title implies “Codependent No More”….in other words, the book didn’t teach me how to NOT be a codependent. Lol. Maybe I missed it.

    Reply

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This blog is my personal journal. I am trying hard to save my marriage. No, I am trying to build a great marriage. In case you haven't heard, marriage is HARD!
I am fighting back against anxiety & panic attacks. This is year 5 of this adventure. I am also codependent. I am an ACOA. Fun, Fun. I am trying hard to become a better me.
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